DescriptionApproximately 1.500.000 Danes live with one of more chronic diseases. This is important from several clinical perspectives. In medical care, psychologists can play an important role in the prevention and adequate management of different diseases. They can support patients and their family members in clinical care settings and help them to cope after the diagnosis of a severe disease, they can also treat co-morbid emotional problems and help to adequately manage the disease.
The above is also important from a scientific perspective. Psychological/behavioural factors such as for example “personality”, “stress”, “depression”, “lack of social support”, “resilience”, “coping skills”, “eating behaviours”, “smoking behaviours”, “physical activity”, “sleeping behaviours” can impact the development, progression and management of many diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lung diseases such as asthma or COPD. These factors are studied by researchers who work in the field of “health psychology” or “medical psychology”, two overlapping fields. In the past decades, successful psychological interventions have also been developed to help people with a (chronic) disease. More and more, medical psychologists are employed in outpatient clinics and in primary care settings, where they closely collaborate with physicians and nurses to optimise treatment outcomes.
This interdisciplinary course will focus on health psychology from different angles: each week there will be a new theme for the module. The themes will cover both health psychology as well as qualitative methodology. For example, the historical and philosophical background for the subject of health psychology will be described and a broad insight into basic theories about the relationship between man and health, especially humanistic and existential psychology, is given. Basic theories about health and illness, as well as the bio-psychosocial framework of understanding, are reviewed. Furthermore, the students will acquire basic knowledge about the pathophysiology and treatment of the most common chronic diseases. In the present module, they will also acquire a basic understanding of how qualitative research methodology can be used by health psychologists or medical psychologist. Students will also learn about the importance of the critical thinking in medical and health psychology, different examples of “bad science” will be discussed. Students will acquire more information about the work of a medical psychologist/health psychologist in a clinical setting.